I’ve been thinking about setting up a “DXpedition in a box” for a while now. In fact, it’s been on my mind at least since early 2016, when I was working on the “back office” team at VK0EK. During that operation, I advocated for (and got) the opportunity to set up a remote controlled station on Heard Island. That story has already been partially told elsewhere (starting at the 53 minute mark), so I won’t go into it again now. But we discussed the possibility of building a leave-behind QSO-bot at that time, and decided it would be
very unlikely impossible that the Australian authorities would approve it, so the idea was scrapped.
Fast forward a year, and the subject was obviously still on my mind, as I wrote a semi-detailed proposal on KY6R’s blog. That post is a bit dated now, since FT8 had not even been released yet at the time. I had hoped someone else might pick up the torch, but so far there has been no public sign that an effort is underway. So, when the subject surfaced again on an eham thread today, I decided to try to see if I could actually make it happen.
What, then, is my goal? First off, I am not taking any position on whether robotic contacts should count for DXCC, WAS, WAZ, or any other award. I’m not particularly interested in any of them. For the purposes of this experiment, I just want to see if it would be technically feasible to build an unattended QSO-bot (I call it a “DX pod”) capable of handing out contacts in a well-defined and controlled fashion for an extended period of time. I want to be as transparent as possible in the process, and I welcome feedback and collaboration, and even competition — if you want to beat me to the punch, I am happy for you to do so! I plan to publish my work here as I go, so that others can follow along and replicate if they so desire.